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Is a Dog Right for Me?Is a dog right for me?


It seems getting a dog is becoming the Social Norm much like getting married and having kids. Many places you go there is a dog at almost every house on the street. If all of your neighbours have a dog, should you have a dog too?


Your lifestyle will play a very key role in whether or not you should have a dog. Here is a good question to ask:


Would you be happy living your dog's life everyday?


If a person works all day and has little spare time then the dog may not get much exercise and mental stimulation. Dogs are one of the few animals you can get that truly love to work, although there are breeds that are pretty laid back and like to lounge around all day. They may make a better choice if the person doesn’t have much spare time. On the other hand some people that don’t have a lot of time for their dog enroll them in Doggy Daycare or have a Dog Walker exercise them which can also help meet a dog’s needs. The key is to ensure the dog lives a happy life.


Here are a few of the Pros and Cons of getting a dog.


Pros


Forever Home - You will be giving a dog a home that otherwise may have been put down.

Happiness - A dog can provide you with happiness.

Active Lifestyle - A dog can make you more active.

Mental Stimulation - You will get to learn and better understand the canine species.

Breed Promotion - You may find an excellent breed that has a fantastic temperament and is very healthy which can promote other breeders to achieve the same results.


Cons


Puppy Mills - Depending on where a dog comes from a person could be inadvertently supporting a Puppy Mill unless they have done their research.

Frustration, Stress & Anger - Dogs and puppies can be an immense amount of work. They can be very frustrating without the knowledge and time necessary.

Expensive - There is food, vet bills, training, daycare, dog sitter and grooming. Some people have dogs that have caused damage into the tens of thousands of dollars. They may acquire a taste for leather couches, expensive shoes, cell phones, walls and doors. Many years ago we heard the average cost of a dog through their life would cost a person $20,000. For some that number can be even higher. Food and vet bills can add up.

Time Intensive - To begin training a dog, we found that having 2 hours a day not including the time to exercise would train a dog to know their commands in an average of 3-4 weeks. This was assuming they had no pre-existing behavioural problems and were properly socialized. If not then some dogs can be a few years of work. After that the dog needs practice otherwise behaviours will perish just like in humans. Without 2 hours a day of training with the dog, problem behaviours can arise.

Hermit - Some people really underestimate what they need to know when it comes to training a dog and may miss out on some very key steps in the dog's life. If a dog becomes extremely aggressive and under-socialized it can become almost impossible to find someone to look after your dog. This for some people means they cannot go on vacation. Keep in mind that many of these dogs started out as cute little puppies and certain things went awry along the way. Separation anxiety for dogs can also cause huge problems. Some dogs will try to escape a kennel at all costs even if it means wrecking teeth to chew through wire cages. Some will jump through glass windows or chew through doors or walls to get out. These problems are easy to avoid when a person has enough knowledge to know how to prevent them.

Lawsuits and Fights with Neighbours - Some dogs get evicted from Condos because of excessive barking. Dogs that become aggressive can earn you a lawsuit if they are biting or attacking people. If a dog is in the mid to high Beta range and higher (Alpha), aggression is much more common. Low Beta and lower (Omega) it is very uncommon to have aggression problems. Choosing the right type of dog for the individual makes life a lot easier. The article on Dog Types will provide a more in depth look.


Having a dog is one of our favorite parts of life but it is not for everyone. We waited many years before we knew it was time for us to get a dog even though we really wanted one. It is important that you understand all of the Cons that can happen so you can prepare yourself so that they never happen. In the case of dogs Ignorance is not Bliss.


Having a dog is one of the most enjoyable things in life. Not all times in life are conducive to having a dog. If it doesn’t feel like the right time or life is really busy then later on might be a better time.



Getting a dog based on looks is the most popular method for choosing a dog. This is also the result of a lot of training problems later on. Many people do not know that dogs were bred for specific jobs and have natural drives to do those jobs. Being a family companion is also a job. The job the dog was originally bred for may not be conducive to being a family pet. The most important advice we can give:


Decide what you want your dog to do. How much energy should they have. What temperament is best suited for you. What will their day be comprised of?


Once you know this you should then decide what dog best suits these traits. Find a rescue or a breeder that can provide you with a dog like this. Then choose based on looks last.


This would be similar to choosing a spouse, someone you want as a life partner. You could pick someone that is the most attractive guy or girl in the world but what if they were mean to you, stole from you, bankrupted you, cheated on you and caused you all kinds of stress. Wouldn’t it be better to say I want these traits in a spouse and then choose the one you find most attractive with those traits? If you are patient and wait long enough you can find the jackpot of a partner that has everything you are looking for.


Too much of the money dog trainers make is when things go bad with dogs. It would be great if a Dog Trainer’s job was to take a naturally well suited dog and person / family and help them become a phenomenally well suited dog and person / family.


Take out a sheet of paper and write out the pros and cons for yourself and be honest with your current position, not what you hope to have in the future.


How much time do you have to spend with your dog? (2 hours a day as a minimum is recommended) When you first get them you will need to have extra time for training and socialization.

How active are you? Choosing the proper energy level in a dog to match your lifestyle is very important. We may have good intentions to get out and exercise our dog but old habits can kick in where the dog doesn’t get as much time as they need. Getting a dog to match your lifestyle really helps.

What is your budget? If you are getting a dog that is more active than you can be with your dog, some people are spending $1000 a month in doggy daycare, food and grooming and this does not include any veterinary bills or emergencies. Some emergencies can run you $4000 right from the start and go up from there. Do you have funds saved for this? If not, can you afford pet insurance?

How often do you travel? Who will look after your dog if you are away? Do you have money to pay for a dog sitter if you do not have anyone who can look after your dog?

How big is your vehicle? Some people may get a large breed dog and realize they do not have enough space for travel and need to upgrade the size of their vehicle which can mean more insurance, more fuel and more maintenance.

How big is your house and yard? We know of people who have sold their condo to buy a home because they needed more room for their dog. These are all things to keep in mind when getting a dog.


As dog trainers, we have to fix a lot of problems. We see these exact same problems over and over again. The purpose of this website is to prevent problems. “Don’t put your hand in that crocodiles mouth.” “Don’t pet that rattlesnake.” “Don’t play with matches near the gas pump.” These are common known things to avoid. With any luck many dog problems will also become common known problems to avoid.